Finnish lawmakers are considering potential NATO membership and Sweden is sending military equipment to Ukraine.
The last time we checked in on Finland and Sweden, Russia threatened the two countries with “serious military-political” repercussions if they joined NATO.
While both Sweden and Finland leaders did not seem overly concerned about the threat, the nations have followed up with a more robust response. Just not the one the Russians saught.
Finnish political parties plan to discuss Russia’s attack on Ukraine and Finland’s role in Europe’s new power balance. Membership in NATO will be one of the topics that will be covered.
Finland’s potential NATO membership will also be on the table, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters Monday.
The mood in Helsinki is tense: Finland has Europe’s longest border with Russia at over 1,300 kilometers, but is not a part of the military alliance. The country is a close ally of NATO, but there has been little appetite to join the club — until now.
“It is very understandable that many Finns have changed or are changing their minds after Russia started waging war on Ukraine,” Marin said.
Finns are evaluating “what is the line that Russia has crossed, and what is the line that Russia will not cross … And if Russia does cross some line, do we face it alone or together with others,” Marin said. She did not comment on her personal position on NATO.
The signs for Finland applying for membership look fairly promising.
Finland’s Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, said Tuesday that the mindset of citizens and politicians towards joining the alliance “is changing” following Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
The NATO debate “is in full swing and will certainly intensify,” Marin said, after party leaders met to consider how to respond to a public petition calling for a referendum on NATO membership.
But Marin cautioned against drawing conclusions at this stage.
The petition garnered the 50,000 signatures needed to refer the matter to the parliament in less than a week, and will be considered as part of a wider debate on the Ukraine crisis.
For the first time, a majority (53 percent) of Finns are in favour of joining NATO, according to a poll published Monday by public broadcaster Yle.
That is almost double the number a month ago, when Helsingin Sanomat newspaper put support at just 28 percent.
“(This is) a completely historic and exceptional result,” Charly Salonius-Pasternak of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs told AFP.
Just to put some perspective on the move in Finnish public opinion:
For the first time, 53% of Finns support Finland joining NATO. In 2017, only 19% of Finns supported NATO membership.
— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 28, 2022
Support for joining NATO is at 41% in Sweden. However, these Swedes are not sitting still. The nation has broken its doctrine not to send arms to active conflicts.
On Sunday, February 27, Sweden announced that it would break its doctrine of not sending arms to countries in active conflict. This comes after the US and allies decided to start sending military equipment to help Ukraine in its fight against the Russian invasion.
Sweden has agreed to send military equipment, including anti-tank launchers, to Ukraine. Sweden will send military aid to Ukraine, including anti-tank weapons, helmets and body armour, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said on Sunday.
“Sweden is now proposing direct support for Ukraine’s armed forces. It includes 135,000 field rations, 5,000 helmets, 5,000 body shields and 5,000 anti-tank weapons” Andersson told a news conference.
In a nutshell, it doesn’t appear that Putin is meeting any of his goals or objectives in his campaign against Ukraine.
What Putin has achieved in less than a week:
– Unites the entirety of Europe
– German arming itself
– Sweden and Finland considering joining NATO
– Turkey and Greece have common enemy
– Switzerland no longer neutral
– Tanks Russia's economy
What Putin hasn't achieved:
— MiiyaUwU 🍰🏳️⚧️🔞 (1/5) (@MiiyaUwU_EN) February 28, 2022
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